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John's Beekeeping Notebook

A Taste of American Beekeeping History - Page 4
The Honey House

Uncapping

Upcapping tank from 1929 book.KnivesSteam and electric uncapping knives appeared around the turn of 1900.  The steam or electricity kept the knife warm, allowing it to easily cut through beeswax.  Before heated knives, beekeepers often used several knives, using one while another was being heated. 

Uncapping tankThe upcapping table at right (1913)  used a burner below to melt the cappings and separate the wax and honey.  It also had a warming pan to heat the knives (far right).

 


Extracting

Homemade extractorSmall-scale honey extractors haven't changed much during the past 100 years. The centrifugal extractor was invented in 1865 by an Austrian, Major Hruschka. 3-frame extractor

The one-frame pull-cord design (at right) was a clever idea.   Bohn's extractor used an early radial design.An early radial extractor.

The radial extractor, where both sides of frames are extracted at the same time, was a time-saving invention.  The early radial extractor at right appears in a book dated 1895.


This wagon extracting setup shows a process very similar to that used today. It may have been used at night, when the bees' robbing wouldn't be a problem.

Extracting Wagon

 

Wax separatorThis drawing is from 1913, showing honey being separated from wax by using heat.  This concept of drawing off honey from the bottom of a container and wax from the top is  still used today.

 


Bottling
Bottling heaterIn 1913, granulated honey in glass containers was considered unsalable, according to Root.  To delay granulation, or crystallization, of honey, heating it prior to bottling became popular.  At right, steam was forced through coils inside a honey tank, warming the honey and delaying granulation.


Honey

Granulated honey was a popular way to sell honey.
Granulated Honey Granulated honey


 

Comb honeyComb honey was also more popular than it is today. Buying honey in the comb was reportedly a way to avoid buying honey that was not pure.

Vinegar was also being made from honey, a use for honey that is rarely seen today.

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John's Beekeeping Notebook  http://www.outdoorplace.org/beekeeping/   Content from John's Beekeeping Notebook may be used for any non-commercial purpose except internet duplication, providing the source is acknowledged.  Created by John Caldeira, Dallas, Texas, USA    john@outdoorplace.org